Maryland County — More than 200 illicit miners have escaped into the bushes surrounding a local gold field in Bessiken, Barrobo Statutory District upon the arrival of an inspection team from the Ministry of Mines and Energy backed by the joint security force.
According to reports, officers of the joint security in Maryland County have extended their patrol into the gold forest to inspect the status of foreign residents who may have smuggled their way into the country, and those operating without work permit.
According to reports, the group of armed men were led by Ministry of Mines and Energy Maryland County's mineral monitors Fonayanneh Doe and Samuel Doune of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority to regulate illegal activities including the use of mercury in the waters.
The joint security in collaboration with local authority of the Ministry of Mines and Energy on May 7 of this year launched an operation against the illegal extraction of state resources, particularly in the mining sector.
The operation is intended to save government from losing the needed revenue to unscrupulous individuals and aliens.
Maryland County Commander for the Drugs Enforcement Agency, Special Agent Joseph Taggedine confirmed that illicit mining is on the rise in Bessiken, Barrobo District.
Reports say several boats were destroyed in the disputed gold rich area where more than 30 dredges were allegedly discovered operated illegally by allegedly Ghanaian nationals despite government's ban on dredge mining in the country.
Taggedine who serves as co-chairman for operations on the county's joint security council said close to 200 illicit miners including Ghanaians and Liberians on Friday, June 11 escaped into the bushes when patrol men appeared to verify whether or not illegal activities were taking place in the gold rich area.
Many of the reportedly escaped miners' dredges operating over River Gee were damaged while others parts were extracted around the Bessiken Gold Camp where scores of Ghanaians and Liberians were allegedly mining.
Several of them are said to be on the run as state security vowed to constantly patrol the area to ensure that violators are arrested and made to face the full weight of the law.